Where To Make Money Now in the Drone Industry
Tom Walker is founder and CEO of DroneUp, the fastest growing drone services provider in the U.S. DroneUp matches missions with small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) pilots. They locate, qualify, and deploy single pilot or multi-pilot crews according to their client’s requirements. The company is committed to providing a comprehensive network of pilots while maintaining a steadfast commitment to safety and responsible operations.
Prior to DroneUp, Tom served as president of Web Teks, a leading online and mobile research and strategy development firm. A former military officer, Tom is a recognized pioneer in military and government digital reform, having managed the programming and web systems to support both the U.S. and International Special Forces. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Tom talks about DroneUp, the current opportunities to make money in the industry and what the drone industry analysts seem to be missing.
What do investors look for in a drone based business?
Marco Rubin is Senior Investment Director at the Center for Innovative Technology in Virginia. Marco leads seed and early stage investments in the aerospace/UAS, energy, and software sectors for CIT, and serves as a board member and mentor to numerous portfolio companies. During his career, Marco has invested in over 200 early-stage technology companies, held leadership roles with funds recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Annual VC 100 list and has managed various funds in information security technology, software, telecommunications and medical devices. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Marco talks about the Center for Innovative Technology and what venture capital funds and investors look for in a drone based business.
How important is relationship building in creating a successful drone based business?
Nicole Abbett is a Tampa based photographer, videographer, artist and drone operator. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography. She honed her skills as an artist and photographer before starting her own commercial photography business. A few years ago, Nicole picked up a drone and launched a new career as a droneographer. After getting her Part 107 Certification, she quickly established herself as a leading aerial videographer in the Tampa Bay area, eventually landing high profile jobs and becoming the first woman to fly for the National Hockey League. She credits her success to hard work, refining her skills and nurturing strong relationships that have garnered her high profile jobs, referrals and repeat business.
In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Nicole talks about her path from artist/photographer to droneographer. She talks about how building strong relationships has landed her some great opportunities and what she’s done to build a successful commercial drone based business.
What is DJI Doing to Make It Safer To Fly Drones?
For that question, we turn to Adam Lisberg, Corporate Communication Director, North America, for DJI. DJI is the world’s largest maker of personal and professional drones. Adam came to the drone world following a successful career in newspapers, from covering murders and fires in Chicago and New York to writing a Sunday column in the New York Daily News as the City Hall bureau chief. He was later head spokesman for the MTA, New York’s transit agency, steering its public communications through train derailments, Hurricane Sandy and other crises. Adam now leads DJI’s messaging on critical policy and regulatory issues affecting how drones are used in America. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Adam talks about a recent blue ribbon task force report on UAS Mitigation at Airports, the lack of verifiable data on drone incursions and the efforts by DJI to create safer drones and safer skies.
Can the Genius NY Accelerator Help Launch Your UAS Startup?
Jonathan Parry is Director of GENIUS NY at The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, NY. The Tech Garden is home to Upstate New York's most promising technology startups. Genius NY is an accelerator program focused on unmanned systems. It will award up to $3 million in grand prizes during its 12-month in-residence business competition. The program will focus on early stage technologies in the category of unmanned systems including hardware, software, and analytics. Jon has more than 12 years experience with start-ups and business development in the UAS industry.
In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Jon talks about the Genius NY program and how it’s advancing the creation of innovative UAS companies. Joining Jon is Ryan Pleskach, Founder and COO of Resilienx one of the companies in the current Genius NY program. Ryan shares what its been like going through the accelerator experience and how it’s helped evolve the company.
What is the fastest growing High School STEM Education Initiative Today?
If you said, Drone Racing Clubs, you’d be spot on. Just do a web search and you find dozens of articles and videos of high school drone racing clubs springing up all over the country. Drone racing is a great way to engage students in an exciting new sport, and as they build, code and race drones, they’re learning about physics, electronics, aerodynamics, computer programming and a host of other STEM-related topics.
Ron Poynter, President of OnPoynt Drone Solutions, the nation’s leading supplier of Drone Education Kits and training for STEM Education. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Ron talks about the rise of high school drone racing clubs, the STEM education value and what the popularity of drone racing clubs mean for the overall drone industry.
Guy Nelson, Operations Director for redUAS, a consulting firm that focuses on technology-agnostic solutions and training to mitigate UAS threats. The company is made up of combat-proven drone professionals with real-world counter-UAS experience who can help customers gain a true understanding of the threat.
Guy served 11 years as a Marine Corps officer and naval aviator. He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve as a Harrier pilot and strategic planner for air power and counter-UAS operations. He is also co-founder of Attollo, LLC a veteran-owned start up that provides unmanned aircraft and associated technology training and consulting services. A frequent speaker on counter-UAS, Guy will be on a panel on that topic at this year’s Drone Focus 2019 conference in Fargo, North Dakota on May 29.
In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Guy shares how public safety organizations can identify and reduce risks of UAS threats to their assets and special events. He also gives us a glimpse into his Drone Focus panel presentation.
Can drones fulfill a critical transportation need in isolated areas of Africa?
Today’s guest believes they can. Edward Anderson is a Senior Innovation Policy Specialist at the World Bank’s Global ICT unit. Since 2014 he has been based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he represents the World Bank on Technology and Innovation. As part of this role he leads work supporting the governments’ Open Data Initiative and is responsible for designing government modernization projects in UAV mapping, citizen data, microwork and smart sensors.
According to World Bank estimates, Africa needs to spend $38 billion more each year on transport infrastructure, plus a further $37 billion on operations and maintenance to sustain its current levels of development. A significant financing deficit lies between Africa's reality and the mobility that it both needs and aspires to. Only 34% of Africa's population is within 2 kilometres of an all-weather road.
To address this critical need, the World Bank is sponsoring the Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC), an ambitious project that aims to explore drones as a new mobility model for the hard-to-reach, rural communities of the Lake Victoria region of Tanzania.
In this episode of the Drone Radio show, Edward talks about the Lake Victoria Challenge and what it means to the future of Africa.
Is it possible to create a successful drone repair business today?
For that question, we go to Duluth, Georgia to hear from Rob Schwartz, owner of Thunderdrones a drone repair business. Rob began flying RC airplanes in the early 80’s and expanded into scale RC airplanes, helicopters, cars, trucks and boats, and in 2016, he added drones. He remains active with RC cars and trucks, but his passion is now drones. So much so, that he started buying, selling and repairing drones. Since 2016, he has repaired more than 3,000 drones and is a frequent contributor and mentor on the Mavic Pilots forum when he helps pilots trouble shoot problems. Rob flies at least 4 times a week, and also test flies customers aircraft, He’s also a licensed private pilot with instrument training and complex rating. In this edition of the drone radio show, Rob talks about the common repair issues with DJI drones, provides some tips on how to maximize your enjoyment and how he created a successful drone repair business.
How can we become a better steward of the drone industry?
For that question we turn to Ken Christensen, Co-Founder of Foresight AI as well as Vice-President of Flight Operations. Foresight AI is a Robotic AI company using sUAS to provide accurate HD 3D Point Clouds for autonomous robots. Ken has over 30 years of experience in the aviation field both in the government and private sector. Ken has served in the Air Force, NASA, California Air National Guard and the Department of Homeland Security and has extensive aviation and aerospace experience. He is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for UAS Drone Detection/Counter Drone technology, space based solutions and aviation airborne sensor solutions. He served in Air Force Special Operations and Air Combat Command and is a veteran of three wars, completing 117 combat and combat support missions. In addition, he remains an active commercial pilot as well as a commercial sUAS Pilots. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Ken talks about how drone operators can be effective stewards and Ambassadors of the Drone industry. He’ll share his 10 ways to become better steward and grow the industry.
What can be learned from serving the military UAV sector?
For that question we turn to Luke Layman, CEO of Vector Aerial, a leading provider of unmanned aerial systems and services offering custom, innovative and cost-effective solutions. Luke is a former United States Air Force fighter pilot with more than 15 years of aerospace experience in critical leadership, training and high technology roles. He founded Vector Solutions in 2014 and subsequently Vector Aerial to provide premier drone solutions. He holds several flight certifications, including Airline Transport Pilot, Flight Instructor Instruments and Part 107. Luke is highly regarded as an aviation and defense expert and leads the Vector team in providing creative solutions to complex problem sets. In this episode, Luke talks about Vector Aerial, its work with at the 2019 Super Bowl for CNN and the benefits of serving both the military and commercial UAS markets.
Can An Open Source Autonomous Flying System Speed Up the Development of Flying Cars?
That’s the hope of a group of software engineers in China. Nina Rong is the community manager for the Generalized Autonomous Aviation System, or GAAS for short. GAAS is an open source project and community, dedicated to an autonomous aviation system for drones and flying cars. It offers developers and drone companies a software development platform for autonomous flight, collision avoidance, route planning and more. The ultimate goal of the project is to provide a safe and intelligent autonomous aviation system to expedite the coming of flying cars. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Nina talks about the GAAS open source system, how users can access it and its role in promoting the development of flying cars.
How is the European Drone Industry evolving?
For that question we turn to Christoph Raab, Executive Director of the Drone Alliance Europe. The Drone Alliance Europe is a coalition of leading technology companies representing the commercial drone industry before European political leaders, regulators, and industry stakeholders, as well as international regulatory and advisory bodies. In addition to his role as Chairman, Christoph also founded the European Security Round Table in 2006. He is a regular speaker and chairman at defense and cyber security conferences. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the UAVExpo Europe, which will be held in Amsterdam on April 8 – 10.
In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Christoph talks about the Drone Alliance Europe, some of the key issues and opportunities facing the European drone industry and the UAV Expo Europe. Christoph will also talk about a UAV Expo Europe panel that he will be participating on Smart Cities and Urban Mobility.
Are you trying to find your niche in drone industry?
Robert Dahlstrom is CEO and founder of Apellix, an aerial robotics company that produces tethered drones that fly in very close proximity to structures, to paint, clean and measure (among other things). The precision controlled drones are able to autonomously complete maintenance and measurement tasks, significantly reducing costs and keeping people out of harm's way. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Robert talks about Apellix and its revolutionary drones, how the company found its niche in the industrial sector of the drone industry and he shares some lessons that other entrepreneurs might want to consider as they create a drone based business.
Where can you go to get the state of the art tactical training in the use of drones?
If you ask today’s guest, he would point you to the Unmanned Tactical Applications Conference on March 25-28 in Perry, Georgia. Ryan English is CEO and co-founder of FLYMOTION, an industry leader in providing innovative unmanned system solutions. FLYMOTION works with government and private industry in a variety of areas, but in recent years, the company has emerged as a leader in the Defense, Public Safety and Emergency Response sectors. On March 25-28, Fly Motion will host the first Unmanned Tactical Applications Conference, where public safety officials will gather to engage in a hands on training in the use of drones in tactical situations. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Ryan talks about the UTAC Conference and how public safety organizations can benefit from attending.
Is there a better way to control a drone
Today's guest thinks there is, and he’s here to talk about it. Dr. Scott Parazynski is a highly decorated physician and astronaut recently inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Scott has lived and traveled all over the world spending many of his grade school years in places like Senegal, Lebanon, Iran and Greece. A graduate of Stanford University and Medical School, he went on to train at Harvard and in Denver in emergency medicine. In 1992 he was selected to join NASA’s Astronaut Corps and eventually flew 5 space shuttle missions and conducted 7 spacewalks. In October 2007, Scott led the space walking team on STS 120, during which he performed four EVAs. In addition to being a diver and an accomplished mountaineer, Scott is also a commercial instrument multi-engine and seaplane rated pilot. On May 20th, 2009 he became the 1st, and so far only, astronaut to climb to the top of Mount Everest.
He is a prolific product developer and serves on the boards of several companies. He recently launched Fluidity Technologies, a technology innovation company focused on redefining movement through 3 dimensional space. Its mission is to simplify and improve motion in an increasingly complex world. In the fall of 2018, Fluidity Technologies launched the FT Aviator, its first single-handed flight control device for drones, designed to dramatically increase the precision of drone flight while tremendously simplifying it. In this edition of the Drone Radio Showm, Scott talks about the fluidity of FT Aviator, the challenges of starting a new drone company and how seeing the world from space and Mt Everest compares with creating a new product
Is the Drone Industry Meeting Your Expectations?
That’s the question that I posed to Doug La Farge, CEO of DT Aerial Systems in Boulder, Colorado. My interview with Doug is part of a series of interviews with independent drone operators to get their perspective on the rewards and challenges of starting a business today. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Doug talks about what’s worked and what hasn’t so far in building his drone based business.
What can we look forward to in Drone Racing in 2019?
For that question, we turn to Nicholas Horbaczewski, CEO & Founder of The Drone Racing League, the premier global, professional drone racing circuit for elite pilots. With custom built racing drones traveling more than 90 MPH+, pilots race FPV (First Person View) through the most insane 3D courses ever created outside of a video game. The Drone Racing League is about three year old and when it started, many questioned the long-term viability of drone racing as a legitimate sport. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Nick talks about the league’s ascent from fad to a worldwide sport. We also learn about the 2019 Swatch DRL Tryouts to be held in Las Vegas on February 9 and the upcoming AlphaPilot challenge, which aims to accelerate the development and testing of fully autonomous drone technologies.
What can you expect as a new independent drone service provider?
For that question, we look to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and to Don Casey, CEO of Texas Aerial Systems. Don has been flying drones for several years, and about six months ago, he launched his drone based business. My interview with Don is part of a series of interviews with independent drone operators to get their perspective on the rewards and challenges of starting a business today. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Don talks about the importance of having good mentors, of competing with larger more established drone companies and marketplaces and the challenges and rewards of developing his business.
Are drones coming to your library?
To help us answer that question, we turn to Ida Joiner, an author librarian, and doctoral student. Ida currently serves as the Senior Librarian at the Universal Academy school in Irving, Texas. Her first book, “Emerging Library Technologies: It’s Not Just for Geeks” focuses on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Drones, Driverless Vehicles and many other innovations. Ida has published several articles on drones and how obtain stakeholder buy-in for implementing technologies. In addition to her writing, Ida is an active member of the American Library Association, the Library & Information Technology Association Division and the International Relations Roundtable. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Ida talks about how drones are being integrated into libraries across the nation and the future of drones in the library system.
Is the drone industry meeting your expectations?
The first in a four-part podcast series that explores the question of whether drone operators are meeting their expectations in the drone industry. The results are what we might expect – some are meeting their expectations and some aren’t. But the real value is hearing the challenges and opportunities that each operator is experiencing and how you can learn from their situation. Today’s guest is Micah Zimmerman, Owner of Amdak, a drone services company in Fargo, North Dakato. Micah shares how he’s building his business and overcoming challenges to reach his goals.
How are thermal cameras used in the drone industry?
For that question, we turn to Randall Warnas of FLIR Systems. Flir designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes thermal imaging technologies that
protect and save lives, promote efficiency and innovate consumer-facing technologies. At Flir, Randall runs the company’s sUAS global business, and has a singularly unique perspective of the drone industry. From pioneering drone retail in 2014, he went on to develop the initial stages and foundation of DJI’s Enterprise business. Now working for FLIR, he has engaged with tens of thousands of end-users in both the consumer and commercial space. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Randall introduces us to Flir Systems, their thermal drone technology and discusses some of use cases for thermal imaging.
What do investors look for in a drone based business?
For that question we turn to Marco Rubin, Senior Investment Director at the Center for Innovative Technology in Virginia. Marco leads seed and early stage investments in the aerospace/UAS, energy, and software sectors for CIT, and serves as a board member and mentor to numerous portfolio companies. During his career, Marco has invested in over 200 early-stage technology companies, held leadership roles with funds recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Annual VC 100 list and has managed various funds in information security technology, software, telecommunications and medical devices. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Marco talks about the Center for Innovative Technology and what venture capital funds and investors look for in a drone based business.
When we look back at the drone industry in 2018, what will we say?
Well actually, to answer that question, all we have to do, is listen back to what my many had to say. 2018 was a year of innovation, progress, change, optimism and challenge – as the industry continued to mature and evolve. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, I compiled short snippets from nearly 50 of my guests on their thoughts on the drone industry, on creating value and on building a drone based business. So as the year comes to a close, let’s sit back and hear from some of the leaders of drone industry.
How are consumer and professional drones evolving?
For that question, we turn to Jean-Thomas Celette, Chief Strategy & Product Officer for Parrot Business Solutions. Parrot is the leading European drone group that offers business solutions spanning drones, software, sensors and services. The company mainly focuses on 3 major verticals: Agriculture; 3D mapping, surveying and inspection; and Public Safety. In 2018, the company introduced several new consumer and professional drones. These drones are smaller, lighter and are designed to specific end-users in mind. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Jean-Thomas talks about Parrot’s new drones, how they have evolved to support different use cases and what that tells us about where the market is heading.